“'Twas a long time ago, longer now than it seems in a place perhaps you've seen in your dreams. For the story you're about to be told began with the holiday worlds of auld. Now you've probably wondered where holidays come from. If you haven't I'd say it's time you begun.”
Oh the holidays. The major ones such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter always give me a tingling feeling. They give me the tingles with anticipation for eating way too much food and seeing family (I am one of those weird people who actually look forward to seeing their family around the holidays). I look forward to Christmas the most not just because of the presents but because I love all the anticipation leading up to it and how all the stores decorate. If you have yet to visit New York City around Christmas time you are missing out on so much.
When I was kid sometimes I wondered what it would be like if the holidays switched months or themes. How weird would that be? Well, my thoughts were answered in 1993 with the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas.
It is the day after Halloween in Halloween Town. Children have been scared out of their ever living minds signaling yet another successful year. The crowned Pumpkin King Jack Skellington returns from his terrorizing to adoration and cheers. The entire town is happy except for Jack. He seems to want and know there is something more out there than just Halloween.
While walking around all night through the woods contemplating that something more Jack and his adorable ghost dog Zero with a glowing red nose come upon seven doors for seven holidays. The holidays are St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Fourth of July, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas. The Christmas door calls out to Jack like a siren’s call and as soon as he opens it he is sucked into a magical world filled with snow, bright lights, and toys.
Halloween Town is in a panic when they cannot find their beloved Pumpkin King. They have no idea where he could have disappeared to. Sometime later their fears are abated when Jack comes riding in on a snow mobile filled with things from Christmas and a new idea. Jack gathers the town for a meeting and tells them he wants to create his own Christmas by having everyone come together to learn Christmas songs and create toys. The townspeople think it is a wonderful idea except for Sally the ragdoll who was created by a mad scientist. Sally tries to warn Jack about his idea but he just brushes her off every time.
The finishing touches of Jack’s plan are realized once Santa has been kidnapped and brought to Halloween Town. Jack did not mean any harm to come to Santa but he is unfortunately brought to the bogeyman Oogie Boogie who would like nothing more than to kill the jolly old man.
Jack goes roof to roof carrying the most terrifying Christmas presents ever. He is almost shot down dead by the military who received terrified calls from parents. Halloween Town even believes Jack is dead.
Fortunately for Halloween Town and most especially Santa, Jack makes it back alive.
I loved the sets for Halloween Town. Before I even looked anything about the movie I knew right away that the designers were influenced by German Expressionism. German Expressionism is a fascinating artistic movement from the early-mid 1900s. Several German silent films had sets designed in the art style which added to their eeriness and creepiness. The style was perfect for Halloween Town because all the shapes are abstract and oblong and unsettling.
I can see why The Nightmare Before Christmas is such a popular and well-loved movie. Tim Burton has such an amazing imagination. The story was so interesting and the characters so well thought out and created. Every character was genius. I liked how they were perfect Halloween characters but they were not scary they were silly and a lot of fun to look at.
I am sorry that it took me so long to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas but I feel I would not have appreciated the story and the animation and all the creativity that went into make it. If you have yet to see The Nightmare Before Christmas do not wait any longer. Halloween is right around the corner and before you know it Christmas will be too.